We recently organised a girls night out to make J’s return to Melbourne after 10 weeks in South America a little more bearable. The brief was somewhere located in the city with good food and great cocktails. Gingerboy was an obvious choice.
I’ve been to Gingerboy a couple of times previously, although I haven’t been for about two years. The last time I went we sat in the bar and enjoyed a procession of cocktails augmented by little morsels of food. It was a good time.
On our most recent visit we sat in the restaurant proper, underneath the roof of small, twinkling lights that made it look like the night sky. Pretty, but terrible for food photography.
We decided to share quite a few of the smaller dishes between us, with a couple of larger shared dishes at the end. Service was friendly, although a little distracted, maybe because it was a busy Saturday night.
First up was pork nam prik ong ($15 for 3 pieces):
These were really tasty little morsels – rich and porky with some sourness from the fish sauce.
We also had the steamed wagyu and bamboo dumplings ($15):
These was my least favourite of the entrees. The dumplings were a little bland without the chilli dipping sauce.
Braised duck spring rolls ($15):
Were fine, but a little bland.
Next, the smashed green papaya salad with sticky rice ($14):
This was my favourite, a fair whack of heat from the chilli, freshness from the coriander. Texturally it was interesting too, with the crunchy green beans and papaya and softness of the sticky rice. Win.
We also had some crispy fried cuttlefish ($14.5) which is sans photograph. It is a fairly standard dish that was done well.
More outstanding was my choice of beverage, the rather excellent “I dream of lychee”:
It was a mix of vodka, elderflower, lychee, lime and lemongrass. I’d come back for this alone.
On to the main dishes, we ordered a whole fried baby snapper ($34), which looked a little like this guy that we enjoyed at Spirit House. On a win for customer service and a loss for the blog, the fish was presented then served at the table by the waiter before I had time to photograph him. A pity because this was one of the better dishes of the night, I really enjoyed the red chilli sauce spiked with lime and the freshness of the lychee salad.
We also shared a chicken claypot ($35):
This was nice, but I had some food envy from the table across from us, who were enjoying the red duck leg curry.
Full of food and cocktails we decided to skip dessert. Overall, the food was good but was lacking that extra punch for it to be amazing. I realise that ‘amazing’ is a high standard, but this food is not cheap. My friend S (who had not been to Gingerboy before) was a bit disappointed that the food was good but hadn’t really lived up to her expectations. After this experience, I’m not clamering to go back to the restaurant proper. Nonetheless, it remains a good choice for a cocktail or two at the bar.
29 Crossley St, Melbourne
(03) 9662 4200